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UN climate change convention opens in S.Africa's Durban

DURBAN, South Africa, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties (CMP7) officially opened here on Monday.

A welcoming ceremony was held at the start of the meeting. Attending the ceremony were South African President Jacob Zuma, Secretary of Foreign Relations and COP 16/CMP 6 President Ms. Patricia Espinosa Castellano, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Vice President of Angola, representing SADC (Southern African Development Community), Mr. Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos and President of Chad, representing ECCAS (Economic Community of Central African States), Mr Idriss Deby.

Zuma said "climate is a mater of life and death" and "Africa is more vulnerable". While Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, President to the COP17 and CMP7, said the Cancun Agreements must be "operationalized".

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane who is also South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation also said adaptation to climate change is an essential element of the outcome of COP17.

The Green Climate Fund represents a center piece of a broader set of outcomes for Durban. Ms. Mashabane said developing countries demand a prompt start for the Fund through its early and initial capitalization.

"The process needs to take two decisive steps here in Durban, finishing the tasks from COP16 and answering the key political questions that remained unanswered in Cancun," the executive secretary of UNFCCC, Christiana Figueres, told the delegates.

"Finishing the task from Cancun means translating policy into concrete action," the UN official added.

According to South African Home Affair department, there were 11,810 delegates approved to come to South Africa for the conference, including several heads of state and government, ministers, UN officials, members of civil society and journalists.

The Cop 17 will last until Dec. 9.

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